Book Review: The Prophet


By Kahlil Gibran

96 pages (?) pages.    Alfred A. Knopf.          Prices vary.

This review is part of my plans for “A Book A Month”, that is, every month I’ll choose a book among the ones I’ve studied and post a short review of it here.

Now, if you are interested enough to get started with the idea of “A Book a Month”, and yet lazy enough to read nothing more than a hundred pages, then The Prophet (1923) by Kahlil Gibran may just be the starter for you! Written by the Lebanese-American artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran, the book has been translated into more than 50 languages and has never been out of print ever since, selling millions of copies worldwide. Said to be “practically ignored by the literary establishment in the West”, it has inspired various international figures (Including The Beatles 😉 ). The Prophet, divided into 28 chapters, is a book of 26 prose poetry fables. The book starts with the central character Almustafa (prophet or gypsy?), who is about to sail back home after his 12 years exile in the city called Orphalese and engages in a dialogue with the townspeople before leaving. There is less (or no) action and more contemplation as the book touches upon some of the most common aspects or phases of human life, leading the reader to a contemplative, self-reflexive stage. Various critics have explored connections and parallels to the mysticism of the Sufis, William Blake’s works, Transcendentalism and so forth. Whether to accept generously or argue vehemently against what is written is another issue, what is important about the book is that; it opens the grounds to do so.

Sources Used:

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran


Birthday- Birth of An Awkward Event

It is an old habit of mine that I never give birthday presents on time, there were even times when I gave gifts 1 or 2 month earlier to the next one. Lot of comments, accusations and comments I have received, many interpretations were made, many never found any logic to my explanation. Some said she is a beggar who can’t afford a gift, some say these are all bogus explanations- truth must be that she always forgets the birthdays and to hide it she has developed a highly idiotic explanation. But still, what is false to others may be a fact to me, huh? 😉

Truth is, I believe that gifts on birthdays are very much predictable and expected. An unexpected happiness is much more exciting than the expected one. I wait at least 2/3 months after the birthdays of my friends/family; wait for the excitement to fade away. Then one day, I go to grab a special gift and wait to see when s/he is very much in distress. That day I would hide the gift in some place from where they will surely find it, and when they do find it… the happiness in their eyes just make my heart melt in awe. But one day, however- I saw the side effect of this philosophy I have.

I was in high school; the Birthday of my closest friend was in April. Half yearly exams were near when I remembered “Oh Crap! I forgot to buy her a gift, damn it!” I was very much in pressure with my studies then and my brain sort of stopped functioning. But I had to buy her something, so I went to a gift shop and bought something I knew she’d like, she mentioned it once to me. I wrapped it nicely and kept it in my bag for about a week. The good but sad part was my friend was hardly ever sad, you could literally count her teeth anytime you wanted because they never remained hidden. A big wide smile was always there, for which it was difficult every year for me to give her any present following my principles. However, luckily there seemed a day when half of her teeth were unexposed. So I hid the gift in her bag and waited to see the eyes shine like they always do. About an hour later, in the class, she came to my bench with narrow eyes and spoke-

“What is my birthday date, dear?”

Confused about where this was going, I replied “17th April, why?”

Now she burst out into a laughter ‘Idiot! You have already given me my birthday present about 1.5 month ago, and it was the same thing you have given me now.”

All the friends started to laugh and I blushed blood-red, not only because I made a fool of myself, but also because I still couldn’t remember at that time, if I had really given her a present before. Ignoring the humiliation and shyness I felt, I managed to ask her

“Are you sure I gave this to you?”

She rolled her eyes at me, which was assurance enough.

Later when I was less stressed, I recalled that I did give her the gift before. The second gift still remains in my show-case, as a memory- humiliatingly fascinating. It was a lesson not be too late about gifts. Since then I prefer to distribute gifts keeping a record of the delivery, and the personal philosophy still remains the same.